Camp Q and A
- Child Safety
- Camp Counselors
- Parent Contact
- Campground Facilities
- Accreditation and Licensing
Safety is a top priority at each camp. In an effort to prevent accidents during activities camps are equipped with state-of-the-art equipment, policies and procedures are in place and camp staff are appropriately trained. Visit the camp web sites under the Camp Guide to research the specific safety standards administered at each camp.
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Onsite Medical Facilities
Each camp provides onsite medical care. Trained and experienced staff are always available to manage any emergency health issues that arise. Most camps have full time personnel onsite to handle emergencies and meet campers special medication needs. Visit the camp web sites under the Camp Guide for specific information about each camp.
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Allergy Awareness, Medication and Medical Emergencies
Different children have different health needs. Camps work very diligently to accommodate these needs. Camp staff are able to dispense most medications whether they be for allergies, asthma, or a mood disorder. Procedures are in place to keep your child safe. Camp staff are also committed to maintaining camper confidentiality. Visit the camp web sites under the Camp Guide for specific information about each camp or contact a camp directly to learn how your child's medical care will be managed.
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Training and Screening Process
A great deal of effort goes into recruiting, training and supervising camp staff in both the programming and operational functions of camp. Extensive screenings and background checks are done for all new staff to ensure only the safest and most qualified candidates will be interacting with campers. Visit the camp web sites under the Camp Guide for specific information about each camp.
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Visiting and Communicating During Camp
Most camps have an open-door policy for parents/guardians to visit camp prior to a child's stay. Many in fact, host a visitation day so parents/guardians can tour the grounds and view the activities.
During the camp stay, many camps wish to establish a routine for campers and encourage their independence. Constant parent contact may interrupt these schedules.
Many parents choose to write letters to campers during the camp session. In most cases, this is a welcomed form of communication. More tech savvy camps are now offering email to campers too. Some camps also host special parent days near the end of a camp session allowing campers to "show and tell" what they've done during their camp experience.
Visit the camp web sites under the Camp Guide for specific information about each camp.
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Many children experience homesickness while away at camp. These feelings are perfectly normal. Many camp counselors are specially trained to help children through these tough times. Through their training and experience counselors know how to approach children with sensitivity, comfort and understanding.
There are also a few things you can do to help your child deal with homesickness at camp. The American Camp Association (ACA) recommends:
1. Encourage your child's independence throughout the year. Practice separations, such as sleepovers at a friend's house, can simulate the camp environment.
2. Involve your child in the process of choosing a camp. The more that the child owns the decision, the more comfortable the child will feel being at camp.
3. Discuss what camp will be like before your child leaves. Consider role-playing anticipated situations, such as using a flashlight to find the bathroom.
4. Send a note or care package ahead of time to arrive the first day of camp. Acknowledge, in a positive way, that you will miss your child. For example, you can say "I am going to miss you, but I know that you will have a good time at camp."
5. Pack a personal item from home, such as a stuffed animal.
You can learn more at www.campparents.org.
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Camps must adhere to site standards, including preventative maintenance, facility management and legal obligation codes. Each camp must meet Federal safety standards for all facilities including cabins and recreational buildings. Regular inspections are done to ensure these standards are being upheld. Visit the camp web sites under the Camp Guide for specific information about each camp.
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Accreditation and Licensing
American Camp Association Accreditation
The American Camp Association (ACA) provides camps the opportunity to undergo a voluntary accreditation process. During the process, the ACA does a thorough evaluation of the camps operations, from staff qualifications and training to emergency management. Camps who are ACA accredited receive many benefits including training for industry standards, business partnerships, access to various camp associations, as well several other advantages. To learn more about the significance of ACA accreditation and other ACA incentives visit www.campparents.org.
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Camp licensing, regulation and inspection involves the public, camp directors and the Department of Human Services, Office of Children and Adult Licensing. The goal is safe, healthy and worthwhile camping experiences for all campers. The Michigan Department of Human Services is the licensing agency for camps. The Office of Child and Adult Licensing inspects and licenses camp programs for compliance with the requirements contained in the administrative rules for camps. Camps are licensed for an original 6 month license and renewed to a two year license. Onsite inspections are completed annually.
Four areas are addressed to determine if a license can be issued:
1. Operator Clearances- involve a criminal history check through the Law Enforcement Information Network and a protective services check through the use of the State's Child Abuse and Neglect Central Registry. These checks are used to assess the good moral character and suitability of those who interact with campers.
2. General Provision Evaluation- involves an assessment of camp staff requirements, health services, food service, camp activities, policies and procedures, records and facilities. An onsite inspection occurs annually.
3. Fire Safety Evaluation- assures compliance with essential fire safety requirements. Inspections occur at least once every two years.
4. Environmental Health Evaluation- covers water supply, food service, sewage disposal, general sanitation and site safety. The inspection is conducted by the local county health department each season.
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Many camps offer transportation to and from camp for children in need. In some cases, local city transportation services may also provide transportation to campers.
All camps ensure the maximum safety of your child when developing procedures for vehicle maintenance, driver selection, emergencies and on-site traffic as well as liability issues related to transportation. Visit the camp web sites under the Camp Guide for specific information about each camp.
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Every child should have the opportunity to go to camp. To ensure this, many camps offer financial assistance to children in need. Scholarship opportunities are also offered by many local area community foundations and other camp benefactors. Financial aid and scholarships differ based on the need of the child/family. Visit the camp web sites under the Camp Guide for specific financial assistance information about each camp.
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Children should not feel limited to embrace camp experiences due to special needs. Several camps offer quality camping experiences for children with special needs, including physical and mental disabilities. These camps provide full time experienced staff who are professionally trained to work with special needs children. The camps also provide all necessary details, including handicapped accessibility to make the child's camping experience as comfortable and beneficial as possible. Visit the camp web sites under the Camp Guide for specific information about each camp.
Each West Michigan camp is committed to understanding the needs and characteristics of children with different experiences, backgrounds, cultures and abilities. Recruiting and serving a diverse camp population is a priority. Diversity activities and plans for each camp highlight that everyone's gifts are acknowledged, supported and valued. Visit the camp web sites under the Camp Guide for specific information about each camp's diversity plan and environment.